Sikhism- The 5th largest religion in the world was established by Guru Nanak, born in 1469, and nine other Gurus who shaped and established a new path to attain God. The Sikh society is based on the principles of equality, human dignity and mutual respect. Â Their teachings have been the guidin principles for the entire international Sikh community which is also known as The Khalsa Panth.
Who is a Sikh- Sikh is a student, a lifelong learner, a seeker of truth and justice, who lives by the 3 golden rules: First is Kirat Karni- to do hard and honest labor/work, then Vand Chakna- sharing oneÂ’s things with everyone including the less fortunate, and finall y Naam Japna- reciting and contemplating on the name of God and meditating upon the virtues. A SikhÂ’s purpose of life is to realize and work towards understanding th oneness of the Creator and the creation, therefore viewing everyone as equal. Some core values for Sikhs are love for all, selfless service, humility, compassion, equality and justice for all.
Sikh Identity- 99% of the people wearing a turban in The United States are Sikhs. The Turban or Dastaar is a head covering and it can be worn by male or female. Sikhs have long uncut hair known as Kesh,males have the hair tied up under a turban and females have it braided or tied up in a bun but some females choose to wear a turban. A young Sikh kid starts covering hair with a small turban known as aPatka. Initiated Sikhs also displays the 5Ks, the articles of faith which are; Kara the iron/steel bracelet representing God, Kanga is special wooden comb for discipline, Kirpan is a small sword representing justice for all, Kachera is a pair of special shorts representing high moral character and Kesh representing simplicity and discipline. All Sikhs have a common last name; Males- Singh meaning lion and Females- Kaur meaning princess.
Gurdwara - Sikh place of spiritual learning and fellowship. The Sikh service commences with Sangat, everyone sitting on the floor together reading and reciting verses from the Holy Scripture, The GuruGranth Sahib. Music plays a very prominent part in a Sikh service, hymns are sung from the holy book using prescribed scales of music and this is called Kirtan. The Sermon of the day is read at the conclusion, called Hukum and that is the order of the day. Ardaas is the final Sikh prayer asking for the wellbeing and upliftment of the entire world by saying Nanak Naam Chardi Kala- Tere Bhane SarbatDa Bhala. Gurdwara has two institutionalized mechanisms; one that of imparting a sense of equality - Sangat, a congregation of all sitting together and second that of joining together as equals known asPangat and eating a community meal called Langar at the end of the service.
Guru Granth Sahib- The Holy book has 1430 pages with divine messages and writings by the founders of the faith and enlightened Hindu and Muslim saints. It is a prime example of interfaith harmony and understanding. Therefore making this into the most universal religious text. The Holy Scripture is organized in a poetic format and the language is Gurmukhi. Daily prayers are the Nitnem Bani and the hymns are Shabads. The Guru Granth Sahib, the wisdom of the Word is considered the complete and final embodiment of the Guru for a Sikh.
Sikh Population- Currently about 26 million Sikhs around the world, majority live in Punjab, India, and they are also found in other parts of the world. 1 million Sikhs reside in North America. 99% people seen wearing turbans in North America are Sikhs
Language- Spoken is Punjabi, and Written is Gurmukhi
Clothing- Males- Kurta pyjama, and Females- Salwar kameez and Dupatta, Western clothing on daily basis.
Foods- Roti, Daal, yogurt, curries both vegetarian and non- vegetarian
Basakhi- Birthday of the Sikhs, when they got their identity and it is beginning of the harvest season
Gurpurab- Birthday of Sikh Guru
Jyoti Jot Samay Diwas- Martydom of Sikh Guru- 5th Guru, Arjan Dev, compiler of the Sikh Scriptures was martyred in the 17th Century and 9th Guru, Tegh Bahadur, who sacrificed his life protecting the faith of other non- Sikhs.
Sikh Ceremonies: Most ceremonies and important days like birthday, marraige and death remembrance take place at home or Gurdwara in the presence of Guru Granth sahib.Â
Anand Kaaraj- Marriage ceremony
Dastaar Bandhi- when a youth starts wearing the big turban
Charni Lagnaa- when a Sikh starts reading the Holy Scripture